Let’s say you’re serious about kicking Microsoft Office off of your Mac. Getting rid of something like Microsoft Entourage can leave a void that is not easily filled. Whereas Microsoft offers an integrated, all-in-one solution with Entourage, Apple gives you a three-pronged approach. Replacing Entourage requires Address Book, iCal, and Mail. Now, these programs are simple to use, and with creative arranging the three applications can be placed on your desktop for simultaneous viewing.
Maybe you’re not a fan of having three applications open. Maybe you like having everything in one window. What are the available personal information managers (PIMs) software out there? This list is not exhaustive, it’s just the best I could get using Google.
Chandler 0.1 by OSAF
First off, I tried out Chandler from OSAF. It is a free alternative to Entourage and looks pretty good. It runs on Mac, Windows and Linux. Inputting data is similar to iCal — however, to add a new item, you must use the “Item” menu option. It is not under the “File” option (I’m trained to go the “File” option). I had some trouble using the product and could not figure out a simple way to display a simple calendar in month view instead of a list view of tasks. I am sure that with patience, the month view is achievable, but I tested a bunch of these PIMs so I couldn’t spend that much time on it.
SimpleDays by TTP Software
Here’s what I know about SimpleDays. It is $15, is PowerPC-based (there is no Universal version) and I couldn’t get it to load on my Intel Core Duo iMac.
Now Up To Date & Contact by Now Software.
Now Software does not have an integrated PIM solution just yet. Now has two different apps — “Now Up To Date” and “Contact.”
Now Up To Date 5
Now Up to Date (“NUTD”) is the calendar program from Now. Visually, NUTD is very cool and has a more modern Mac OS X look. No brushed metal look here and plenty of Web 2.0-ish rounded corners. Now Up To Date shows information cleanly and clearly (unlike Chandler). Creating a new event can be done similar to selecting something in imaging software (the mouse cursor becomes a crosshair). Times are denoted with numbers and tick marks.
There is no drawer to show detailed information about an appointment like iCal. A double click reveals all the information. NUTD includes a year view where you can look at the entire year at a glance. This feature has limited utility. Clicking a certain date will take you to that date. I do not think iCal has this option. This program also lets you handle many calendars at once and can organize calendars from many people.
This program makes iCal look like a toy.
Very professional look. You can add keywords, attach notes, attach documents, urls to your contacts. It also supports different Contact files for separate contact lists. One of the most interesting features of Now Contact is its “Web Services” feature. If you take a look at a particular contact, you can click “Web Services” and find nearby places to that particular contact. As an example, if you were going to take a prospective client out to dinner, you could click “Web Services” and click the “Find a Restaurant” option. Your web browser will open up displaying Google maps with restaurants near the address of your contact. Now Contact is vastly superior to Address Book.
These two applications are expensive at $129.95 but are like the “Pro” version of the Apple apps iCal and Address Book. There is no Mail software.
Scrybe by iscrybe.com
I haven’t been able to get my hands on this new PIM, but I took a look at their promo video. Scrybe is an online calendar web application that you can use offline and also syncs when you get online. Clicking on a day makes the the day get larger, the rest of the calendar smaller — it looks kind of like Expose for your days. It has the ability to drag and drop appointments Its layout is similar to Microsoft Outlook.
Scrybe also displays time zone information. It will let you know what time it is depending on contact information for a contact. Additionally, you can turn on a “Secondary Timezone” that puts another list of times on the left of your window in case you work with someone in another time zone often.
Scybe has a feature they call “Thought Pad.” If you find something online, Scybe lets you add things with bookmarklets. Your clippings are placed into a newspaper layout. You can scroll through pages of this newspaper. On the bottom of the screen is a “thought stream” which shows the page you are viewing in context, as in Scrybe shows you the previous, current, and next pages in thumbnails.
Also, there is “PaperSync.” Scrybe can print easily foldable booklets of your calendar similar to the hipster PDA.
Daylite by MarketCircle, Inc.
Daylite is visually very similar to Entourage. However, it doesn’t do e-mail. It is very easy to use and is what Chandler wants to be. It also can deal with group calendars and has a nicely designed contact data display.
Daylite also has a project view which can show a “Pipeline” of your events. If you have a project that has steps, Daylite can display which steps have been completed, which step you are currently working on and your future steps. It hooks together with Apple Mail and its calendar program.
It’s pretty pricey at $189.00, but Daylite looks to be super-powerful and may deserve a feature article on its own. It does so many things, it may be easier for you to watch the video over at MarketCircle.com. Here’s the link. Leo Laporte talks about the program on Call For Help.